Kearny has been and continues to be an icon of multiculturalism. Kearny's Immigrant Heritage traces the waves of immigrants who began to populate the town in 1875, when Clark Thread (now Coats & Clark) of Paisley, Scotland, opened two mills here and encouraged workers to immigrate. Swedes arrived in the Arlington section of Kearny as early as 1880, drawn by employment opportunities at the Celluloid Works and other nearby industries. Lithuanians came by 1895, resulting in Our Lady of Sorrows Church, the parish school, the Schuyler Savings Bank, and the Lithuanian Catholic Community Center. Italians from Calabria and Naples and Jewish families from Eastern Europe operated the local shops that lined Kearny and Midland Avenues and Elm Street. Japanese families settled in the Arlington neighborhood before 1917.
About the Author
Award-winning author Barbara Krasner is a historian, writer, lecturer, and native of Kearny. She follows the success of Kearny, published by Arcadia in 2000, with Kearny's Immigrant Heritage, drawing upon numerous interviews. This long-awaited history contains cultural and family photographs-many uncovered in private collections and closeted archives-ranging from addressing the haggis on Scottish poet Robert Burns' birthday to celebrating Portugal Day to commemorating independence on Lithuania Day.